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Patton wears old duds in All-Star Game

Traded to Rangers system, reliever wears Storm Chasers uniform
July 16, 2014

DURHAM, N.C. -- During a recent game with the Omaha Storm Chasers, reliever Spencer Patton was part of a conversation in the bullpen with players wondering what the makeup of the team would look like in a few weeks.

"We were talking before the break that our team could be different because the big league team is in the race," Patton said. "We thought there could be trades. I just didn't think it would be me."

Then his phone rang Wednesday morning while he was eating breakfast with family members in advance of the Triple-A All-Star Game. When he saw it was Royals director of player development Scott Sharp on the other end, he figured something important was happening.

Sure enough, Patton was traded to the Rangers for veteran reliever Jason Frasor. He'll report to Texas' Triple-A affiliate in Round Rock.

Before that, however, there was the Triple-A All-Star Game for Patton, a 26-year-old right-hander.

"I'm going to wear my Omaha stuff," he said before the game. "That's the only stuff I have. I'll get my new wardrobe when I get to Round Rock."

Patton, who was introduced as a member of the Storm Chasers, was the first reliever used by the Pacific Coast League and he struck out the only batter he faced, Columbus' Jesus Aguilar.

Until Wednesday, Patton spent his entire four-year professional career in the Kansas City organization. He won't have to face his former teammates for a while because Omaha and Round Rock do not play each other again in the regular season.

In brief

Where have you been?: Fresno Grizzlies skipper Bob Mariano, who managed the PCL team, was particularly interested in one name on the opposing roster at the Triple-A All-Star Game.

It was Columbus Clippers pitching coach Tony Arnold.

Mariano and Arnold were former teammates and roommates in the mid-1980s with Charlotte, which was the Orioles' Double-A affiliate. Despite that bond, they hadn't seen each other since Arnold's family visited Mariano in Florida -- 23 years ago.

"When I saw he was going to be the pitching coach [for this game], I was excited," Mariano said. "It's nice to rekindle old friendships. That's one thing that's great about this game."

Busy Bee: Infielder Shawn O'Malley was Salt Lake's lone representative on the PCL All-Stars in his first season in the Angels organization. It was like a flashback for O'Malley, who spent a large part of 2012 with Durham and made a postseason appearance with the Bulls last September.

By hitting .343 in 50 games for Salt Lake and with Bees teammate Brennan Boesch opting out of the game, the All-Star role belonged to O'Malley, a 26-year-old who also has seen spot duty in the outfield.

After beginning the season with Double-A Arkansas, he was called up to the Bees. He'd be leading the league in batting if he had enough plate appearances to qualify.

"Fortunately, I'm back up here in Triple-A and back to one step closer to my ultimate goal," O'Malley said. "I definitely thought I caught a break -- not only getting to Triple-A but getting consistent playing time, which is huge. ... You never know where baseball is going to take you. I knew it would be kind of fun to make it [to this game] and be back in Durham."

Home of Bull Durham: This was Durham's first time as host of the Triple-A All-Star Game. The stadium was the site of an All-Star clash before when it was the venue for the 1997 California/Carolina League event. The Bulls were the Class A Advanced affiliate of the Braves at the time.

"It takes a lot to have an All-Star Game," said Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo, who managed in the game for the second time and threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Part of the earlier festivities involved a luncheon for players, guests and visiting officials from Triple-A teams at Duke's famed Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Montoyo is two victories from catching Bill Evers as the winningest manager in Bulls history.

The Omaha Storm Chasers will host the 2015 Triple-A All-Star Game.

Bob Sutton is a contributor to